A company's trade secret is part of the Company's Intellectual property.
However, unlike other intellectual property protection such as trademark or patent, there is no formal way to protect a company's trade secret.
There is no registration requirement for trade secret protection.
A company's Confidential and trade secret information are internally protected.
As a company you would have to put in specific internal protective measures to prevent or reduce the possibility of disclosure of the trade secret or confidential information.
1. Non-Disclosure Agreements.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement ( NDA) is perharps the first protective tool to ensure the preservation of your company's trade secrets and confidential information.
You will need to ensure that the NDA is well drafted and reviewed by a professional to avoid terms and clauses that will render it unenforceable. (Please avoid copy and paste)
2. Employment Agreement
If you have people working for you whether on full time or part time basis ensure that you have a comprehensive employment contract or independent contractor agreement with clearly defined terms and clear job descriptions.
Because employees regularly have access to certain privileged information about the business by virtue of their positions it is important to always include a non disclosure clause in the main contract of employment.
Alternatively in addition to their Employment contract, you can have the staff, vendors or independent contractors sign independent confidentiality agreement all together.
Non-compete Agreement, documented internal Policies and procedures, Agreements with third parties are the other effective ways to protect the trade secret or confidential information of your company.
3. Reduce Access to the information.
As much as possible only employees or other persons who have direct business with the information should have access to the information.
If you are a food processing company only those who are directly involved with the production or manufacturing process should have access to the company's unique recipe, formula processes etc.
The information should not be readily available to all and sundry simply because they work with the company and those whose job description demands that they have such access should be made to sign an NDA, a None circumventing and a non compete Agreement (NCNC)
4. Security Control.
Set up physical and electronic security control in strategic places of the company and access to those places should be highly restrictive.
5. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
Finally the best way to actually maintain a company's trade secret is to actually keep it secret.
Don't be too quick to tell anyone and everyone you meet privileged information about your business.
Know what information to give out and what information to keep within the company.
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